Friday, September 07, 2007

Nothing but Flowers

I've been enjoying going through a bunch of old papers as I move into the new place. Here's one gem I had forgetten about. I wrote it as a short screenplay in 2003 but it was never made:

EXT – Day, Deep Woods

[A couple sits under the canopy of some trees gnawing on big hunks of raw meat, chewing and chewing slowly and disgustedly. They are both dressed in tattered business suits.]


Ten years of vegetarianism gone down the drain.




This is truly disgusting.


(beat) I wonder how Jesus is doing without me running Hostile Takeovers.


I wonder how Tarik is doing without me to get his reapplication in order. He’ll never get his Thesta-Distatica patented without me to look out for him. He’ll probably be another victim of DigestCom in fact.


Would you shut up?


Ooooh, do I detect a little lingering loyalty to the assimilation machine?

ADAM (moping)

No. I left for a reason you know. As much as I could go for some bruschetta and a café latte right now, I’d rather be here gnawing on this half burnt half bloody deer meat than carving up the corpses of small businesses to keep Jesus and the shareholders secure in the knowledge that anything innovative will soon be theirs. I’m just sick of talking about the city. We’re better off out here.


We’re miserable out here, Adam. This isn’t food, this is a dead animal. It’s not meat it’s flesh! And this isn’t living. God I have the shakes.


Caffeine withdrawal?


I haven’t slept more than four hours a single night since we got here.


You haven’t slept more than four hours a single night since university.


Yes but we’re supposed to be getting past that. What’s the point of caffeine withdrawal if you still can’t sleep at night? And what’s the point of sleep deprivation if you don’t have to work tomorrow-

ADAM (interrupting)

Oh we have to work tomorrow, girl-

JANE (interrupting)

Have to but can’t. How are we supposed to work when we’re shaking like this.

[Jane holds up her left hand to demonstrate. It’s shaking heavily and she has trouble even holding it up. It’s caked in dark deer blood.]


Yeah, I know, I know. (beat) Not to mention our eyes.

[Camera shows close-up of a bloodshot red watery eye.]


Don’t remind me, please.

[Adam holds his lids open and leans in close to show Jane.]

JANE (ctd)

What I just say?

[She grabs Adam by the face and shoves his head away.]


Seriously Jane what do you think is causing this eye thing?

INT. Adam at a computer, typing a financial report, with his eyes mere inches from the screen.

EXT. Back under the canopy

JANE (shrugs)

I dunno. My eyes are fine.


Yeah but your ear looks like a head of cauliflower – mmm, cauliflower.

INT. Jane on the phone arguing about a rejected patent claim.

EXT. Back under the canopy. Jane gives Adam another face shove as he leans toward her ear with his mouth open and watering.

EXT – In an open field now, Adam and Jane are hovering over a fire upon which rests a boiling Teflon pot of dark green liquid

ADAM (shaking all over as if feverishly sick)

This better work, Jane.

JANE (very defensively)

Or what, Adam?

[Adam looks at her blankly but if looks could kill…]

JANE (ctd)

Whose dumbass idea was it to come out here again? Was it, hmm, maybe, I think, yes, was it – YOUR idea, Adam!

[Jane switches to a deep, goofy voice.]

JANE (ctd)

Oh, Jane, we’re stuck in a trap here. We’re working so hard we never have time for each other, and when we do I’m so stressed I can’t even get it up anymore. Oh Jane this life is too much work for too little reward – what’s the point of all our possessions if we can’t even enjoy them together, Jane? Oh Jane, let’s move out somewhere wild, build a lean-to and live like hunter-gatherers – we can be naked all the time. It’ll be our own Garden of Eden – except we can even eat the apples, oh Jane let’s do it.

[Jane switches back to her own voice, except angrier than we’ve yet seen her, she’s yelling at the top of her lungs now.]

JANE (ctd)

Well you know what? You may be Adam, but I ain’t no Eve, and there ain’t no apples on this godforsaken island!

[Jane storms out of sight. Adam stares deep into the brewing cauldron, pulls some small berries out of his breast pocket and squeezes a milky substance from them into the pot, and stirs with a stick.]

ADAM (calling over his shoulder)

Jane, I think it’s ready.

EXT. Back under the canopy. Jane and Adam sit sipping from two Second Cup stainless steel traveler mugs, making contorted disgusted faces with each sip. Jane occasionally looks like she’s going to wretch. They sit sipping for about 15 seconds, eyeing each other suspiciously, saying nothing.

EXT. Back to the wide open field. Adam is chasing Jane. She lets him catch her, hugs him, squirms loose, runs, lets him catch her again.


Feeling better?


Oh Adam! What did you put in that tea?


That was no tea Jane, it was espresso, espresso au natural.


Adam, some espresso, it was disgusting.


I think it has potential. It must be healthy, look how much better we feel. I haven’t eaten for hours and I’m not even hungry. And I’ve stopped shaking. And so have you! And I don’t feel thirsty either, it’s a wonder drink. We just have to figure out how to make it taste good and we could make millions.


I thought you weren’t interested in making millions anymore.


Well, I’m not, but, you know. (beat) I thought you were.


I just want to get out of the jungle.


And go back to our miserable lives working non-stop, never seeing each other or our friends, consuming unstoppably, glued to our desks, stressed, sleepless?


Let’s work on this natural espresso. Show me what you put in it.

EXT. Over the fire and boiling pot again. Through the magic of time lapse photography we see Jane and Adam trying batch after batch, making a vast diversity of contorted faces until, eureka! They make a delicious batch.

EXT. Adam and Jane selling ‘Natural Espresso’ on the side of the road to Galiano tourists, thus curing the tourists’ caffeine withdrawal. They’re talking up the customers about city life, the beauty of nature but also how one misses the finer, higher culture things in life: the theatre, the ballet, the symphony, espresso.


Oh you can’t beat Karen Kain, Minigawa’s beautiful but she doesn’t have as much grace – that’s just how it is. I wish Karen Kain would perform again, even if she’s past her prime, she’ll always have that graceful beauty.


Heather Ogden is something to watch. She’s very self-assured.


Yes, she certainly is (beat) something to watch.

[Jane elbows Adam playfully. The customer thanks them, returns to her Prius with a travel mug full of a dark green brew, and drives away.]


We’ll be rich!


Yes, rich because we’ll be in the city we love, with a job we actually believe in – bringing this great energy drink to our fellow yuppies, actually having conversations with people. And we can grow a rooftop garden that will supply us with all our raw materials. Rich indeed, a kind of wealth too few people know.




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That was pretty good. It makes great reading in the form its in. You could take the screen play framework specific parts of the actual writing and use them to mimic the strange theatrics of the corporate world.

An idea, anyway. It would work as a short peice of literature, for certain. In humblest humbility.
Haha... Galiano Island. Tres perfect!
Benji, someday I might actually read something of yours and thing that you did not write it very well. That day had not come, including today.
Corporate whores giving up values for raw dear meat in shredded business attire to come up with a magically delicious brew so they can live in jeans and hire corporate whores to market it for them.

Roll the beautiful bean footage, just don't let Duke know the secret recipe and all of their dreams will be realized.

great benji, Youtube it if you an't get it made any other way.


Funny story. You know, I work in the "yuppie" part of Vancouver (well, one of them). Some times I think I have started to become one of them. But I like sleeping in too much, they'll never fully convert me.
Caffeine withdrawal?

I have a friend who doesn't believe in life BC... before coffee :)
Thanks Eric, for your appreciation, ideas, and humblest humbility ;-) A great turn of phrase that one.

PP: I've had some very happy weeks there.

TC: Thank you, you are most kind.
Thanks TWM, but who's Duke?

TR: Resist my man, Resist! Just keep taking the bus and you'll be okay.

CD: Tis a sad affliction I know all too well.
I think Ben and Jerry started out this way.
and we all know what happened to them.

It's obvious that you have had some script experience.

And you've certainly read Beckett.

This is good enough for the CBC if they ever get it together to put in short playlets instead the boilerplate they offer these days--and most days there is no drama or or Canadian-produced plays.
I think you show great imagination and visualizing. Yoy gotta be smart to write playlets, and you is.
My only small criticism is towards the end where you say "bringing this great energy drink to our fellow yuppies..."
I thing I would have used another word besides yuppies. Peers comes to mind, but that's not it.

Overall, an impressive performance.


I would be happy to reproduce all or part of "Nothing by Flowers" on my blog for review purposes.

...Up to you.
...All work like your produced in Canada is automaticlly copyrighted.

Ivan, thanks so much for your enthusiastic response. I'm glad I asked.

I have no script experience but dialogue has been a strength of mine I think. Nor have I read Beckett, but I probably should.

Yes, please do reproduce over at your place, would be fascinating to get more feedback.

Oh, and I do see your point about the word yuppie in this instance, seems like overkill. Not sure either what to replace it with. I'll give it a think.
Ivan: I think connoisseurs would be a good replacement for yuppies. Feel free to use that edit in the reproduction.
btw Ivan, I think you were visitor 5555 to my blog; that's gotta be good luck.
Benji duke is the family pet that knows the secret formula for whatever bean company uses him in their he is always trying to find a buyer for the secret ingredients.


There was a time when people would rub my paw for luck, but over the last twenty years, it's been more like " a day without Ivan is like finding money in the streets." :)

It is finally raining in Toronto and I'm into a bit of serendip, but I have reproduced your playlet in my comment space.
Looks good, actually.

Mark: Duke sounds like a smart one, wish I had that kinda buzniz saavy.

Ivan: rainy here too and it's serendipitous also because it's brought me a new friend seeking shelter. Thanks for the re-produce, I'll come by and take a looky.
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